The Ohio State Highway Patrol reminds drivers to follow safe driving tips and winterize their vehicles in preparation for inclement weather. Everchanging weather patterns in the winter can catch drivers off guard. You can reduce the risks of being involved in a crash by ensuring your vehicle is ready for the season, adopting winter driving techniques and following general roadway safety.
Last winter, there were 9,073 crashes on snow, ice or slush-covered roads in Ohio. These crashes resulted in 22 fatal crashes, which killed 24 people, both down from the previous winter.
“It is important to plan ahead and allow for extra time to ensure the safety of your loved ones on the road this winter,” said Governor Mike DeWine. “Planning, patience, and preparation can mitigate the hazards you might face while driving in cold weather.”
Before traveling in winter weather, clear the snow and ice from your windows, headlights, and taillights of your vehicle. Also, allow defrosters time to work so you can see. Once you begin driving, go slow and increase following distances; bridges, ramps, and overpasses will freeze first.
Remember, Ohio law requires headlights to be on at any time when the windshield wipers of the vehicle are in use. If your vehicle becomes stuck in snow, clear the tailpipe free of all snow and debris to decrease the chance of carbon monoxide poisoning.
“Motorists need to use extra caution and slow down during winter weather,” said Lieutenant Scott Rike, Bucyrus Post Commander. “Remaining calm and knowing what to do if you are stranded along the roadway can help keep you and your passengers safe.”
If your vehicle breaks down or you are involved in a crash, turn on your hazard lights, move your vehicle as far off the roadway as possible, remain in the vehicle, and call #677.
The Patrol reminds drivers to stock their vehicles with a winter car kit that includes an ice scraper, shovel, jumper cables, flashlight, warning devices, blankets, cell phone charger, first aid kit, tow rope, water, and food for longer trips. It is also important to ensure your tires have plenty of tread, check your battery, and keep your windshield washer reservoir full.
If you must travel in winter weather, visit http://www.ohgo.com/ for real-time traffic conditions from the Ohio Department of Transportation.
The Patrol’s winter driving traffic safety bulletin can be found at: https://www.statepatrol.ohio.gov/links/Winter_Driving_Bulletin_2021.pdf